'WE WANT to stay with the council.' That's the message from Luton's council tenants, who have voted by an overwhelming majority (nearly 90 percent of some 2,000 residents who voted) to keep the council as their landlord.
The results follow an extensive programme of consultation in the town, forced on the local council by central government. The main council unions in Luton - the TGWU, Unison and the GMB - united in the campaign along with council tenants, reps and local activists. The message from the unions was clearly summed up by Unison branch secretary Jim Griegg: 'We ask people not to put their children's future in jeopardy by taking less secure accommodation.'
Luton's housing plan for the next 30 years shows the council can meet the government's new 'Decent Homes' standards. And earlier this month government watchdog the Audit Commission praised the council's housing service.
TENANTS ON the Havelock estate, west London, have voted against the transfer of their council homes to a housing association.
A resourceful group of strikers
WORKERS HAVE suspended their overtime ban and strike action for three weeks while an inquiry is conducted by senior management into Charlie McCaulder, the manager at the centre of the dispute at the Bristol company Resourcesaver. Mark Phelan, the Unison branch chair, explained, 'McCaulder prevented three reps from attending a meeting with the management after the first strike and then denied it after it was reported in the local paper.'
There is a general feeling that to return to work with McCaulder still in charge will mean any agreement is worthless and victimisation is likely. Resourcesaver is operated by Avon Friends of the Earth. If the inquiry by senior management does not result in the removal of McCaulder workers are planning a five-day strike.
Our schools are still not for sale
PUPILS, PARENTS and teachers at Kingsland School, east London, were shocked to hear Indro Sen's dismissal was upheld by an appeals committee. Sen, a long-established popular maths teacher, had been the NUT rep for over a decade.
His principled defence of union members and his long-running battles against Hackney education managers are the real reason for his dismissal. The Learning Trust has also reaffirmed its plans to close down Kingsland School. Parents, teachers and pupils are going to oppose the closure of Kingsland and also campaign for the reinstatement of Indro Sen.
WE HAD forced management into shutting down the campus, but we still picketed every site on the campus. We had a barbecue at my site, and a carload of us took hot dogs to the FBU picket line at Whitechapel fire station.
Laia from the city campus said, 'Going on strike on the same day as the firefighters was great - not only to see their support on our picket lines, but because it feels like the unions are growing stronger together. 'The firefighters are very strong-willed, and we should all learn from them and give them our support.'
Around 100 Unison and Natfhe members came to a rally at Calcutta House. Steve Cushion from Natfhe got big applause when he said that all education workers across the capital should strike together next time.
MEMBERS FROM all three unions at King's College picketed the main sites last week. Management had been forced to cancel lectures and seminars as a result of the wide support for the strike.
Two firefighters came to visit our Strand site from the Soho fire station to show their support, and we collected £57 for them from the picket line. After lobbying the employers' association we went to the rally at Congress House.
Management refused to cancel the queen's formal opening of the Maughan Library at Chancery Lane, which is costing the college over £35 million. We know they can find the money for buildings, but not for staff! It was a great day, but we haven't won yet, and the fight and the campaign go on!
WORKERS AT the Back Hill site of the London College of Printing had a really good day. Pickets got extremely good support from our students. Later a group of pickets visited our local fire station in Clerkenwell. We felt the show of solidarity was really positive, and we made real connections between people working in the public sector.
ON MONDAY college management at University College London admitted defeat over a proposed merger with Imperial College. Merger was an attempt to create a flagship 'super-college' which could charge huge fees.
Growing opposition from college staff helped to force a humiliating climbdown by the college authorities.
UCL College workers